Frummie and his friends were beside themselves a few months ago over the nerve of Vanity Fair. It quoted them! And they were surprised that Vanity Fair was . . . unfair. “Out of context! Out of context!” Context, I think someone said, is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Some of the neo-neos felt betrayed—this stuff wasn’t supposed to come out until after the election, or after the New Year, or after the Fall of the Empire. But there it was, and everybody got confused again. Did the Frummies want a bigger war, or a better war, or a sort of war?
National Review was quick to respond. “Vanity Unfair: An NRO Symposium” solemnly appeared. It isn’t seemly to rehearse the boring responses of the serious neos. But Frummie’s song, which I here offer as a poem, is noteworthy. Never mind that it has no structure or rhyme; progressive poetry never does.
I always believed as a speechwriter that
If you could persuade the president
To commit himself to certain words,
He would feel himself committed to
The ideas that underlay those words.
And the big shock to me has been that
Although the president said the words, he
Just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the
Root of, maybe, everything.